Friday, October 23, 2009

A Tale of Two Hot Dogs

The other day I was getting the boys lunch. As usual, I didn't really have a plan for lunch, so I was winging it. When this happens, as it does most days, I figure out a vegetable for the boys to eat first, and while they're eating that, I figure out the rest of the meal. So on Tuesday the boys were eating some cauliflower while I scanned the fridge, and I decided that they could eat the last two turkey hot dogs and maybe some of the leftovers from the night before. I made Zach's hot dog first (Drew must have moved on to some fruit or something, because Zach never finishes eating before Drew), and as he was about halfway done, he said he would want another hot dog when he was finished with the first. I told him there was only one left, so if Drew wanted the leftovers, Zach could have the second hot dog, but if Drew didn't want the leftovers, he would get the second hot dog. Zach suggested they split the hot dog, and I said that we'd have to see, but that that probably wouldn't happen, because half of a hot dog wasn't much for Drew to eat.

Of course, Drew did not want the leftovers, so I told Zach that Drew was getting the second hot dog. Zach flipped out and started crying about how that didn't feel fair to him and how he was so hungry for a second hot dog. I tried to explain how there were two hot dogs and two kids, so it was only fair for each boy to get one hot dog. He kept going back to how he would have shared the hot dog with Drew.

I could see I was getting nowhere, so to prove a point, I got out two Strawberry Newton cookies. I said to Zach, "I have two cookies. I'm going to give them both to Drew, ok?" Zach didn't like that idea one bit. So I said how that was what he originally thought should happen with the hot dogs- that he should get both. Then I broke one cookie in half, and said to Zach, "Ok, Drew gets this much (one and a half cookies), and you get this much (half of a cookie)." Again, Zach thought that was totally unfair and the crying continued.

Well, there was more explaining by me, and somehow I think Zach finally understood the point I was trying to make. But the crying continued, just as hard as it had started. I asked Zach what the deal was, and he kept saying, "I'm upset about the deal I made with the hot dog." I was confused, and asked Zach a clarifying question, and he said, "I'm just so upset about the deal I made for Drew... I feel like I was being really mean and nasty to Drew and it just feels so bad!" It was then that I realized he was feeling so bad not about himself not getting that second hot dog, but about trying to short Drew out of a whole hot dog in the first place. I said, "Oh, buddy, it's ok. Drew forgives you and I forgive you." and Zach said, "I don't forgive myself!" And then a few minutes later, "I just feel like I wasn't being a very good friend to Drew," sob, sob, sob. The kid was a wreck. So I tried to point out how much he normally shares with Drew, things like popsicles and cookies and all kinds of goodies, so he shouldn't feel so bad. I also told him that sometimes big brothers aren't very nice to little brothers, and vice versa, but it doesn't mean that they don't love each other.

It was just another example of how sensitive Zach is. Though I felt bad that Zach was so upset with himself, I was also proud of him for caring about Drew's feelings and happy that he finally understood the fairness/unfairness of the whole situation.

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